Ava Serra

Drawing On History Books

A liter of kerosene
on sale at the family gas station
one town, half a playlist away
Buy two, get one free
and we’re on our way
Diana Ross and Janelle Monáe
uprooting roads, rediscover lazuli
down white man’s roads in white man’s country
where the wild grass pushes through dry blood
and wheels crunch over crystal tears

off to the country’s core
Phallus hub buried in the cave under the Hill
excavated by their fathers,
butchers in a land uncarved
now overseen by the desert imp who takes
a woman’s touch and tongue
but has never known her gift
He thinks gold to be sand
and these igneous walls around must be abound,
protected from the likes of feminine fire and brown
My love and I

earthquake through the floor
don’t bother with the front door
Down to the archives
where the banned and scorned murals hide
the minerals whisper different names, old names
They tell us whales were not always in the sea
and the sky is not a ceiling, it is infinity
In this underground, the sunless men hide
the carvings — tomes of kissing bulls
women who made love in volcanoes
became goddesses
All this amber and obsidian obscured
under decades of white pus
My beloved turns to me
asks if I’d like to make a canyon
crumble all this into the crust

She kisses cocoa into my mouth
strikes a match in my lungs
I breathe fire, breathe black fire
bellow rainbow
Infection to dust, affliction to ash
excavate the jewels, run down the tunnel
shatter glass with lava rocks and marble
Leave her to climb atop the wreckage,
pluck the buttons at her waist, let skin spill free,
bend in the knee
She releases magma, consumes the Constitution in flame

Alarms scream to the masses of imp men
They scurry with buckets of political homogeneity
Carry tomes of galaxy mist within ancient opal
plastered in papier-mâché
Fists raised, clutching legislation folded into bullets
they instruct their soldier clones
Take aim, fire

the oil on our bodies
lights. Our laughter echoes into a serpent
Jazz queen and Nephthys meld into meteor
belch earth origin and eon aged smoke
a parting gift as we ride our kerosene sin
through the ceiling, we make it glass
out of the stratosphere
into Venus’ sulfur storm

Ava Serra is a queer woman who strives to highlight underrepresented identities in her art. Aside from writing projects and fawning over her cat, she is working on her degree in Environmental Science at Northwestern University. Since her introduction to poetry in 2016, her work has been featured in Nailed, Northwestern University’s French & Italian publication Rosa La Rose, POSTSCRIPT (2018 & 2019), and Sonder Midwest Review. She was also a finalist in the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards in Chicago, where she dwells and frequently performs.